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Moorgate was one of the major gates in the Wall of London (Sugden). It was situated in the northern part of the Wall, flanked by Cripplegate and Bishopsgate. Clearly labelled as More Gate on the Agas map, it stood near the intersection of London Wall street and Coleman Street (Sugden; Stow 1598, sig. C6v). It adjoined Bethlehem Hospital, and the road through it led into Finsbury Field (Rocque) and Mallow Field.
Moorgate also provided entrance into the Moorfields, a marshy area beyond the wall that hosted a variety of activities for citizens of London, all of which carried sociopolitical weight as London developed. Coleman Street Ward was situated on the city side of the wall, and surrounding areas were covered by Bassinghall Ward and Broad Street Ward. Nearby landmarks within the wall include Founders’ Hall, Masons’ Hall, Girdlers’ Hall, Weavers’ Hall, Armourers’ Hall, Bear Inn, and St. Stephen.

Name and Etymology

The gate has been variously spelled as Moore-gate, Mooregate, Moorgate, More Gate and Moregate over the course of its history. The earliest spellings, as indicated by Stow in 1598, included More Gate and Moregate; Stow originally refers to it as Moregate. It later came to be known as Mooregate, and is spelled this way in the Survey of 1633. Today, it is officially spelled as Moorgate, and a major street in modern London has taken this name in memory of the gate (Harben). Moorgate was named for the Moorfields it led into, because it was constructed specifically to provide access to them (Sugden).


Moorgate’s primary purpose was to admit citizens to the Moorfields, and as a result, much of its legacy is characterized by what went on there. Its proximity to Bethlehem Hospital meant that patients often took their air in the Moorfields, alongside the beggars who frequented the area (Schmidt). In the winter it was a popular destination for ice-skating, and the Honorable Artillery Company often made use of the area as a training ground (Schmidt). As depicted on the Agas map, the Moorfields were also used by local citizens to bleach and dry their laundry. Moorgate’s area was therefore one of significant diversity and bustling activity. To accommodate this the Moorfields were eventually drained and levelled (Stow 1598, sig. C6v).
As the connecting entity between the city and the Moorfields, Moorgate’s significance changed with the times. In the 1400s and early 1500s, it would have served as an entrance point into a world where many facets of society came together to perform separate and various activities. In this context, it may be seen as an equalizer, transcending class restriction. Passage beneath the gate signaled a person’s entry into this relatively classless state.
Entering the 1600s, Moorgate’s significance altered notably. Beginning in 1605, the Moorfields were paved, beautified, and ultimately transformed into a place for use by the bourgeoisie (Schmidt). From here the gate began to exist in a more metaphorical sense, as an entryway to the upper-class lifestyle. Moorgate, which for so long hosted the passage of a lower-class demographic, became the backdrop to the social activities of London’s elite.
Taking these to be the two definable social landscapes overseen by Moorgate, it is easy to envision the gate as both a metaphysical concept and a physical structure, one reflective of the complex and ever-changing atmospheres of early modern London.


Moorgate was built in 1415 by Mayor Thomas Fauconer and reedified by Mayor William Hampton in 1472 (Stow 1598, sig. C6v). In 1511, Mayor Roger Achely facilitated the construction of dikes and bridges in the Moorfields and began the process of levelling the ground, in response to a booming interest in the area (Stow 1598, sig. C6v). In the 1598 Survey, he expresses a premature doubt in the effectiveness of this work:
So much that the Ditches and Bridges are couered, and if it bee made leuill with the Battlementes of the Citie wall: yet will it bee little the drier, such is the Moorish nature of the grounde. (Stow 1598, sig. C6v)
In Stow’s time, the unceasing dampness of the moor would have justified this doubt. The encroachment of higher society would later force the Moorfields into dryness.
In 1672, following the reappropriation of the Moorfields to a landscape of elitism, Moorgate was rebuilt in noble style (Sugden). This was the final alteration to the gate, and in 1762 it was dismantled. Its stones were sunk into the Thames to protect and fortify the central arches of London Bridge (Sugden). Today, Moorgate’s legacy lives on in Moorgate Street, which was built to provide access to London Bridge (Harben).


Cite this page

MLA citation

Linsley, Maya. Moorgate. The Map of Early Modern London, Edition 7.0, edited by Janelle Jenstad, U of Victoria, 05 May 2022, mapoflondon.uvic.ca/edition/7.0/MOOR2.htm.

Chicago citation

Linsley, Maya. Moorgate. The Map of Early Modern London, Edition 7.0. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed May 05, 2022. mapoflondon.uvic.ca/edition/7.0/MOOR2.htm.

APA citation

Linsley, M. 2022. Moorgate. In J. Jenstad (Ed), The Map of Early Modern London (Edition 7.0). Victoria: University of Victoria. Retrieved from https://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/editions/7.0/MOOR2.htm.

RIS file (for RefMan, RefWorks, EndNote etc.)

Provider: University of Victoria
Database: The Map of Early Modern London
Content: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

A1  - Linsley, Maya
ED  - Jenstad, Janelle
T1  - Moorgate
T2  - The Map of Early Modern London
ET  - 7.0
PY  - 2022
DA  - 2022/05/05
CY  - Victoria
PB  - University of Victoria
LA  - English
UR  - https://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/edition/7.0/MOOR2.htm
UR  - https://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/edition/7.0/xml/standalone/MOOR2.xml
ER  - 

TEI citation

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Variant spellings